I have worked through the past exam questions for the new spec so that students can see the wording of previous questions and recognise the obvious gaps that haven’t been asked previously. Be aware that even though certain areas have been asked before (e.g. Daly specifically) the examiners could ask the same area again or even ask a very similar question as previously asked.
Obvious gaps for Philosophy:
- Understanding of reality and Plato’s reliance on reason as opposed to the senses.
- The analogy of the cave including details of the analogy, its purpose and relation to the theory of the Forms
- Aristotle’s use of teleology
- The Prime Mover and connections between this and the final cause
- Comparison and evaluation of Plato’s Form of the Good and Aristotle’s Prime Mover
- Comparison and evaluation of Plato’s reliance on reason (rationalism) and Aristotle’s use of the senses (empiricism) in their attempts to make sense of reality.
- The challenge of Evolution (Teleological or Cosmological)
- Hume’s criticisms for the existence of God from Natural Religion – specifically against Cosmological
- Whether or not it is possible to successfully defend monotheism in the face of evil
- Hick’s reworking of the Irenaean theodicy which gives some purpose to natural evil in enabling human beings to reach divine likeness
- Whether or not the need to create a ‘vale of soul-making’ can justify the existence or extent of evils
- Omnipotence: Divine power and self-imposed limitation
- Omniscience: Divine knowledge and its interaction with temporal existence and free will
- (Omni)benevolence: Divine benevolence and just judgement of human actions, including Boethius’s argument relating this to divine foreknowledge, eternity and free will.
- Anselm’s four-dimensionalist approach as an extension of Boethius’s view
- Whether Boethius, Anselm or Swinburne provides the most useful understanding of the relationship between divinity and time
- Whether or not any of these thinkers are successful in resolving the problems of divine knowledge, benevolence, justice, eternity and human free will.
- Whether the attributes should be understood as subject to the limits of logical possibility or of divine self-limitation.
Obvious gaps for Ethics:
- Sanctity of life
- Quality of life
- Whether or not the religious concept of sanctity of life has any meaning in twenty-first century medical ethics
- Whether or not a person should or can have complete autonomy over their own life and decisions made about it
- Whether or not there is a moral difference between medical intervention to end a patient’s life and medical non-intervention to end a patient’s life
- Ethical Naturalism
- Whether or not what is meant by the word ‘good’ is the defining question in the study of ethics
- Whether or not ethical terms such as good, bad, right and wrong have an objective factual basis that makes them true or false in describing something
- Whether or not, from a common sense approach, people just know within themselves what is good, bad, right and wrong
- Comparison between Aquinas and Freud on the concept of guilt
- Comparison between Aquinas and Freud on the presence or absence of God within the workings of the conscience and super-ego
- Comparison between Aquinas and Freud on the process of moral decision-making
- Whether conscience is linked to, or separate from, reason and the unconscious mind
- Whether conscience exists at all or is instead an umbrella term covering various factors involved in moral decision-making, such as culture, environment, genetic predisposition and education.
- Specifically on premarital sex, extramarital sex or homosexuality
- Traditional religious beliefs and practices (from any religious perspectives) regarding these areas of sexual ethics
- How these beliefs and practices have changed over time including key teachings influencing these beliefs and practices, ideas of religious figures and institutions or the impact of secularism on these areas of sexual ethics
- Specifically Kantian ethics or Utilitarianism
- Whether or not religious beliefs and practices concerning sex and relationships have a continuing role in the area of sexual ethics
- Whether choices in the area of sexual behaviour should be entirely private and personal, or whether they should be subject to societal norms and legislation.
Obvious gaps for Christian Thought:
- Revealed knowledge of God in Jesus Christ and through the life of the Church and the Bible
- Whether or not God can be known through reason alone
- Whether or not the Fall has completely removed all-natural human knowledge of God
- Whether or not natural knowledge of God is the same as revealed knowledge of God
- Whether or not belief in God’s existence is sufficient to put one’s trust in him
- The Son of God- Jesus’ divinity as expressed in his knowledge of God or resurrection. With reference to Mark 6-47-52 and John 9:1-41
- A teacher of wisdom- Jesus’ moral teaching on repentance and forgiveness/ inner purity and moral motivation. With reference to Matthew 5:17-48 and Luke 15:11-32
- Whether or not Jesus was only a teacher of wisdom
- Whether or not Jesus’ relationship with God was very special or truly unique
- Whether or not Jesus thought he was divine
- Bonhoeffer’s duty to God and duty to the State
- Bonhoeffer’s teaching on the relationship of Church and State including obedience, leadership and doing God’s will or Church as community and source of spiritual discipline
- The cost of discipleship
- Bonhoeffer’s teaching on ethics as action including ‘costly grace’ or solidarity
- Rosemary Radford Ruether on gender and its implications for the Christian idea of God
- Ruether’s discussion of the maleness of Christ and its implications for salvation including Jesus’ challenge to the male warrior messiah expectation, God as the female wisdom principle or Jesus as the incarnation of wisdom
- A comparison of Ruether’s and Daly’s feminist theologies on sexism and patriarchy in Christianity, as it has developed in the mainstream Churches
- A comparison of Ruether’s and Daly’s feminist theologies on whether Christianity can be changed or should be abandoned
- Whether or not Christianity is essentially sexist
- Whether or not a male saviour can save women
- Whether or not only women can develop a genuine spirituality
- Whether or not the Christian God can be presented in female terms
If you would like a copy of the sheet I created for my students please contact me here.
If you spot anything I’ve missed pleased let me know.
I am planning on doing a summary of the mark schemes and examiner’s reports for these questions next.
Check out this video where I go through past questions, gaps and possible questions:
How I used the past exam q sheet to start off revision: